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Optom Vis Sci. 1998 Jan;75(1):23-9.

Modulation of bacterial adhesion to hydrogel contact lenses by albumin.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.



The purpose of this investigation was to measure the abilities of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus epidermidis strains to adhere to two hydrogel lens materials and measure the effect of a protein-coated surface on the number of adhered bacteria.


Proteins absorbed to contact lenses during sleep were extracted, subjected to sodium dodecylsulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and probed for the presence of albumin. Bacterial adhesion was measured by counting bacteria adherent to contact lenses coated in vitro in increasing concentrations of albumin, examining the ability of albumin in solution to prevent adhesion to albumin-coated lenses, and examining the topography of bacterial adhesion by electron microscopy.


Albumin adsorbed to lenses during overnight wear. In vitro studies demonstrated that Polymacon lenses adsorbed more albumin than Etafilcon A lenses. In general, the numbers of adherent bacteria increased with increasing concentration of albumin. Bacteria adhered in higher numbers to Polymacon lenses than Etafilcon A (p < 0.05). P. aeruginosa showed an increased adhesion as the amount of albumin on Etafilcon A lenses increased. There was a decrease in numbers of bacteria adhering per milligram of albumin as the level of albumin increased on Polymacon lenses. Cells tended to adhere to "deposits" on albumin-coated lenses.


Albumin adsorbed onto the surface of contact lenses modulated the ability of P. aeruginosa and S. epidermidis to adhere. P. aeruginosa is commonly associated with contact lens-associated microbial keratitis, where bacterial adhesion to contact lenses is believed to be an important first step in the pathogenesis of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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